There are many articles online about the pros and cons of a possible Brexit this month. One area that deserves attention is consideration of how a Brexit will affect translation services in Britain. The EU allows the free movement of people across the continent which necessitates a lot of public spending on language services. That’s why a poll of members of the Association of Translation Companies (ATC) showed that almost 90% are in favour of remaining in the EU.
It is understandable that translators would be disproportionately opposed to British independence, when compared to the British public at large, since they benefit more from Britain’s EU membership. However, many businesses and the government will save money on translation costs if Brexit. There will also be new work for translators too, since new trade agreements can be opened up with the rest of the world.
Last week, eleven members of the US House of Representatives released a letter urging the Obama administration to remain neutral in regards to the Brexit campaign, stating:
“Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, citizen of the United Kingdom should know that we will continue to regard our relations with the the United Kingdom as a central factor in the foreign, security, and trading policies of the United States.”
Britain will be trading a lot more with America, China and other parts of the world in the event of a Brexit. All the new trade opportunities for UK businesses will require translation services for legal contracts, documentation, promotional material and more. While we can anticipate a drop in public translation services relating to employment, the NHS and law, there may be a great increase in corporate translation services as more UK businesses are empowered to trade globally.
While some translation agencies focus purely on the negative impact of a Brexit on the translation industry, a more nuanced perspective should recognise that Britain will always be involved in international trade and that language services will therefore always be required. Whatever the outcome of the referendum on Thursday, the public and private sectors will be able to depend on Empowerlingua for culturally informed translation services.